MOROCCO

MOROCCO Traditional dances, mosques and Islamic artworks have brought Morocco quite a reputation. The civilization is a mixture of European, Arab and Berber cultures. Muslims’ official languages are Arab and French (it’s probably through the only places in the world where French is more useful than English), but a large part of them also speak Berber dialects, paying respect to their African heritage.

Morocco has very famous and elaborate dances. Probably the better-known one is Tissint, one of the few dances where men and women alike participate. The trick that arose people’s curiosities was the use of a dagger that the man places at the neck of its female partner, before falling to her feet. It’s a symbolical dance that takes place at the wedding ceremony.

Speaking of weddings, family plays a key role in a Moroccan’s life. Everybody must have heard of the multiple-wife families. While it’s true the law allows it, an insignificant percentage of Muslim men actually proceed to take a second wife. The wrongdoings of a family member reflect upon the honor of the family. Moroccans seek the approval of the community so they tend to be strict with their children and isolate or punish anyone who shames the family.

MOROCCORespect their hierarchies when going to a Moroccan house: firstly, greet the elders, wait for the wife to initiate a handshake (if not, don’t feel offended) and don’t bring a partner unless explicitly asked to. You may find the serving a tad strange. On the table, you have a huge plate of food and you’re expected to eat without utensils, using either your right hand or a certain type of bread. In the case of water, it’s the same: you’ll have a bottle or another recipient from which everyone will drink. Islamic persons don’t drink alcohol, but do tend to smoke, either cigarettes or the famous sebsi – a typical, long Moroccan pipe. Moroccans are known for smoking hashish, which although illegal, is widespread in the country.

They also have a fear of jinn. Jinn are spirits created at the same time with humans, only that they aren’t as visible. They are supposedly peaceful, but if disturbed, they can unleash hell. This is why many Moroccans wear some charms or verses from Quran with them, as a way to make peace with them. Jinn are actually mentioned in Quran.

Still on the spiritual side, Casablanca has some impressive religious centers, with examples ranging from European architecture to Islamic art. The most famous are Casablanca Cathedral and the Mosque of Hassan II. An industrial park is a newer tourist attraction. In the capital, you can find the Mausoleum of Mohamed V or the Kasbah of the Udayas. While Rabat is the administrative capital city, Marrakech is the cultural one. El Bahia palace, the tomb of Saadian sultans, the old town, the Majorelle Gardens or the bazaar (shooq) brought its fame worldwide. Fez, another city, is renowned for its medieval buildings and art; it also has an �?entrance to hell’. The beaches, amazing scenery in the mountains and the desert, with oasis towns, complete the image of an amazing country.